June 22, 2017 3 min read 1 Comment

Tugboat has been on tour again - this time to test the fabulous Aladdin Tea Infuser "In the field" on our very own Tugboat Tour de France in the Loire Valley.
That's our excuse, anyway!

Day Une - Mercredi - Prologue 

Docking - early morning - Roscoff.
Jess had the BIG hat, the BIG bag, the BIG shades. Ready for anything.
So, I fired up the Tugmobile and we hurtled ...... all of 3 miles from the ferry before stopping at our first delightful town, Saint Pol de Leon, for coffee & croissants in the lovely square by the cathedral.
Start as we mean to go on :)
Then a wonderfully sedate "waft" down to Chinon, on the banks of the River Vienne in the Loire Valley.
What a gorgeous town Chinon is!
It's got the castle, the river, the French Joie de Vivre and wine!
Lots of wine!
And what a place to stay ..........
Logis Saint Mexme
Beautiful room, secluded walled garden, fabulous hosts in Jean-Michel and Helene; perfect.
But refreshment was needed after a 5 hour drive.


It had to be Ricard :)

 Day Deux - Jeudi - Mountain Stage

Could there possibly be a more quintessentially French market than Chinon's? 
From Fromages to Fleurs, Saucisses to Saucepans; its got it all :)
But we weren't there just to enjoy ourselves.
We had rigorous product research to do.

So, after stocking up with enough cheese to feed half of Chinon, we grabbed our Aladdin Tea Infuser (full of our brewed and chilled Summer Fruits Infusion) and headed out to work - on bikes!

Mr Sporty....Thinks He's Forty (In my dreams :) )
We worked out that I hadn't sat on a bike for 39 years - it showed......
But by taking bikes it meant we could ........

.... taste as many wines as we liked :)

Cave Monplaisir is an amazing underground wine merchant carved out of the limestone rock face near Chinon.

It was a tough job testing the wines to make sure we bought the right ones, but we struggled on.
Then, to work!
So it was back to the beautiful walled garden at the Logis Saint Mexme to test the Aladdin and the produce we had picked up from the market in the morning.

The Aladdin Tea Infuser was brilliant :)
Whether you want hot or chilled drinks, you can infuse them freshly every time and the thermal double wall keeps them hot (or cold ) :) for ages.
It simply works beautifully :)
We had chilled our delicious Summer Fruits Infusion ... perfect.
Of course, after our gruelling ride in the blazing heat of this famously mountainous part of France (well, the bridges have a bit of a slope on them), we were also in desperate need of sustenance.
With a choice of more chilled infusion or a beautiful, sparkling, white wine from the Vouvray vineyards.
The last time I had Vouvray was on a school trip to the vineyards when I was 14 years old.
It took a long time to get to the Loire by horse drawn cart in those days :)


Decisions, decisions.......
Fortunately everything passed our stringent quality control with flying colours. :)

Then an evening of "People Watching" in the Place du General de Gaulle.

 Day Trois - Vendredi - Flat Stage

 Another day of strife and hardship dawned.
First, drive back to Cave Monplaisir to pick up the cases of wine we had bought the day before that we couldn't fit into our bike panniers.
Then a pootle into the vineyards themselves to see how this year's grapes are coming along.

They're coming along very nicely; thank you for asking :)
Then back to Chinon for a long, hard climb up to the beautiful Chateau Chinon overlooking the town.
Well it would have been a hard climb if it wasn't for the free elevator :)
This place is like a Who's Who of historical figures.
Richard the Lion Heart, King John, Edward II, Joan of Arc, Charles VII...... they've slept here, fought here, built here, played petanque here.

And now its walls have been breached by the indomitable Tugboat Crew.


Day Quatre - Samedi - Sprint Stage

Early start for our drive back to Roscoff, but the day couldn't have begun any better than with a delicious breakfast in the lovely garden of Logis Saint Mexme.

Then a very relaxed wander back to Brittany, leaving the delights of the Loire Valley behind, for a night in Roscoff before our return on Sunday.
Via the obligatory supermarche to stock up on essential French produce; including.......

.....Cassoulet au Canard.
No civilized home should be without it :)

Chinon is a place not to be missed and we shall be back!

1 Response


July 01, 2017

It looks – and I’m sure was- wonderfully relaxing and seriously hard work (?!) Love the snaps and the witty commentary (how’s the book coming on???) – but I will just say one word (actually three) : salon de coiffure ? Lovely to have you back, and it’s worth it if we know what you’re up to when you’re away !

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